Every summer, moviegoers fall under the spell of the silver screen beneath twinkling stars, cozied up in the heart of Historic Fairhaven while enjoying cinematic favorites. Historically hosted by Epic Events, the cherished summer-long happening is now under the wing of the Fairhaven Association. Executive Director Scott Ward sat down with WhatcomTalk to detail the association’s welcome acquisition of the beloved Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema.

“Summer cinema has been going on for quite some time,” says Ward, “Doug Borneman and Epic Events have been putting it on for many years and it’s been a community partnership with the Fairhaven Association.”

Movie nights are a great opportunity for families to spend time together at the heart of Fairhaven, in a safe and clean environment. Photo courtesy Fairhaven Association

According to Ward, Borneman felt the need to move on and retire, looking to the association as a natural successor. “He came to us first and said he would love for the Fairhaven Association to take it on,” Ward says. “And for us, it really didn’t take much convincing, especially since it fits our mission of promoting Fairhaven as a community. We’re putting on events all the time to bring people into Fairhaven, so acquiring the movies felt like an easy decision.”

The long-running summer darling has become a vital piece of the magic that is Fairhaven.

“It’s one of the things many people in our community look forward to and associate with Fairhaven,” Ward says. “It brings people from other parts of the city and the county into our community [and] has become a very special and meaningful aspect to life here. If it weren’t here, people would really miss it.”

Every Saturday night for 10 weeks, starting June 25 and until August 27, the Outdoor Cinema will show a popular film on the Village Green. This year, titles include kid favorites like Moana and Encanto, along with adult-oriented classics like The Princess Bride and Dirty Dancing. The cinema will also show more nostalgic films like The Goonies and Back to the Future.

“Picking the movies has always been an interesting process. In the past, there’s been a voting process with Epic Events putting out a listing of movies and asking the community what they want to see that year,” says Ward. “This year, that didn’t happen due to lack of time. The process is about coming up with movies that have a draw but include some diversity. It’s about trying to appeal to as many folks as we can over those 10 weeks with movies that most people know or have heard of.”

When it comes to movie night, it’s best to prepare for maximum enjoyment, making sure to bring all the essentials for your group.

“What I love about it is, on any given movie night — especially when the weather is nice — people start showing up early with their blankets, their pillows, and their picnic baskets,” Ward says. “They show up at the Village Green and claim their space. By the time the movie starts, the whole lawn is filled with people on their blankets, in their areas, with their snacks.”

Tickets cost $7. Ticket sales — and the Village Green — open 45 minutes before the start of the entertainment. Note that start times change as dusk arrives earlier throughout the season.

Every Saturday from June 25 to August 27, a popular title will play on the big screen, continuing a legacy that’s well-known and well-loved in the community. Photo courtesy Fairhaven Association

It’s okay to bring lawn chairs but is important to note that chairs are not permitted on the green itself. Ward suggests setting them up on the brick perimeter. “No alcohol is allowed in the park, but you can bring sodas and things like that,” he says. “We also encourage people to go to the local restaurants and ice cream parlors and bring those treats in.”

While the Fairhaven Association gains its new footing with the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema, they’re also hopeful for the future of the event.

“This year it’s going to look very much the same as it has in the past; we don’t really want to try anything new or different, we just want to know what it’s like to take it on as it is,” says Ward. “Looking forward to next year, we’ve already started to do a little brainstorming on how we could have other aspects of the event come to fruition.”

For example, with cult-like movies, the association might try holding costumes contests or encourage people to dress up like the characters in the movie.

“Maybe we could also get other partnerships with other organizations — we’re starting to brainstorm what it would mean to develop the cinema experience further. The other exciting thing about acquiring the outdoor cinema program is that it comes with the equipment to show movies and the sound equipment for more entertainment that we would be able to use at other times of the year.”

The possibilities are endless, and this newest addition to the organization presents nothing but positive opportunities and a strengthened bond between the Fairhaven Association and the community it adores.

To get a copy of the 2022 schedule and peruse this year’s showings, please visit Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema.

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